WORDS

How HVDES found beats in rehab and why they changed her life…

When it comes to debut release introductions this year, few new artists have made such a strong impression as LA’s HVDES. Last week she made herself known with this glitchy, bloodied horror clip…

A fittingly theatrical video for a dramatic piece of brutal electroid energy that sums up her macabre vibe: Fuck My Nose Up is HVDES’s first official single and amplifies the support the Icon graduate has already generated with previous free downloads tenfold.

Riddled with orchestral stabs, distorted dissociative messages and an unabashed sense of hedonism, Fuck My Nose Up is the result of a year of studio hibernation and marks the start of an exciting new chapter in a production career as she prepares to unleash a steady slew of equally heavy noir nocturnal pleasures, that she explains come from the darker corners of her soul.

Seems legit: trace HVDES’ career right back to her earliest productions and you’ll find her emerging from a whole other life of drugs, violence, and self-battering uncertainty. Tldr: beatmaking changed HVDES life. Here’s how…

I got a confession to make. I didn’t share that video. Not in 24 hours. Not at all. My grandma follows me on Facebook and she wouldn’t like it. What you gonna do about this?

Well it’s simple; you’re going to wake up tomorrow with HVDES sliced into your forehead. It’s all good.

It’s quite a striking concept. Is this what you’ve had in mind when you’ve been in studio hibernation?

Yeah definitely. It’s true to me as a person. I’ve always been attracted to the darker side of things aesthetically, musically, artistically, in every respect. It developed naturally and gave itself meaning over time. It’s an extension of myself or an exaggerated version of who I am and what I believe in and what my vibe is.

There’s a fine balance between nihilism and sarcasm at play…

Ha! That’s me in a nutshell. I’m easy going and like fun. Maybe not nihilistic but I do have a darker view on the world. I grew up in the hood in LA and dealt with a lot of inner city shit. I went through a lot of shit before I got into electronic music.

But you’ve been playing music since you were quite young, right?

Yeah I played the piano my entire life. But I only really started to appreciate electronic music when I went to rehab.

Wow

I was doing really badly in school and was deep into the punk scene. Doing a lot of drugs and really depressed and not doing well at all. My dad saw that and took me out of it by sending me to a rehab in Utah. That was where I first appreciated or began to ‘get’ electronic music.

How?

I’ve always been a very intense person. Whatever I do, I do 100%. If I believe in something and I love it I give it everything I have. That goes for the good things and bad things. So with the drugs I didn’t care about repercussions I’d have in later life because there was no later life as far as I was concerned. I couldn’t see a place for me, a classical pianist, in punk music. I couldn’t see a place for me anywhere. But I was so absorbed by the punk world. I wouldn’t listen to anything else. I wouldn’t talk to anyone else but punks. The whole nine yards. I listened to two Datsik songs once and I was instantly embarrassed and worried what my punk friends thought.

So how long ago was this?

I’m 21 now and I went to rehab when I was 17 so five years ago. But yeah, there I was in the middle of nowhere, far away from LA, suddenly exposed to all these different people with different music tastes. It opened my mind and made me realise what was out there. I discovered production and engineering and so many other things.

The irony of going to Utah from LA to discover the wider world!

Totally! I was very closed off and so punk it’s embarrassing. The two foot mohawked, cliché angsty teenager. I needed to be sent away – for my health but to open my mind musically too. I was able to find music and that changed my life. It gave me a sense of purpose I didn’t have before. It gave me a reason to keep pushing and that’s how my brand started to develop. It’s come a long way though; when I first started off I called myself Amy Traphouse.

Ha!

Yeah it didn’t last long. I wasn’t even making trap! I wanted my brand to be more serious, too. I was inspired by acts like Tchami and Justice. People with more serious branding and not as much of a gimmicky type thing. I wanted something serious and darker.

Interesting you mention Justice as their whole attitude is pretty punk. They deject the mainstream and the usual behaviours of the industry and do their own thing on their own terms. That, to me, is punk.

Yeah exactly and they’ve been a huge inspiration for me. I’ve seen them four times this year. And of course musically they’re a massive inspiration too.

Yeah you can definitely hear that on Fuck My Nose Up. So what comes next?

We’re just keeping with the singles for now and maybe an EP – I want to gauge how people are feeling and how they’re responding to the songs. I want it to be more natural. If people are happy with consistent singles every month then I’ll keep with that for a while. I don’t want to do releases for the sake of them – like an album for the sake of an album. Everything I do has meaning to it and has meaning to me. Whether you find any meaning in it yourselves is up to you!

Finally, what do your old punk friends make of you now you’re deep in the electronic world?

I’m not sure! I keep in touch with one or two but it’s a lifestyle much more than a scene and it’s pretty violent and fast paced and hedonistic and not good for my health so I have removed myself from that culture. It was all very negative, I was constantly getting in fights, getting arrested, I was fighting for something, but I didn’t know what I was fighting for. When I found electronic music and production I found I could channel all that inner shit in a way that wasn’t unhealthy and made me feel alive. Music does that for me, it’s the only thing that makes me feel alive and does anything for me. It’s my whole life.

HVDES – Fuck My Nose Up is out now

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